Vahe Gregorian

Postcard from Rio: Where’s the ‘zillion tons’ of coffee?!

Cups of hot joy, er, joe, are hard to come by in Rio.
Cups of hot joy, er, joe, are hard to come by in Rio. vgregorian@kcstar.com

Infinite uncertainties swirled around the leadup to the Rio Olympics. Still do now, in fact.

One thing you could count on, though, was going to be coffee. An essential any time but especially when you typically finish your last bus ride of the day between 2 and 3 a.m.

So who knew what to really do about Zika, or street crime, or cracking the code on the gridlocked transportation system.

At least there would be coffee to fortify you and get you through whatever … even if sometimes you’d be left walking and talking like Kramer wired on caffè lattes.

This was assured because, well, that’s what Frank Sinatra merrily told us in the 1946 tune actually called “The Coffee Song,” my friend and former Star columnist Joe Posnanski reminded me the other day.

“Way down among Brazilians, Coffee beans grow by the billions,” it goes, before later figuring it’s a “zillion tons.”

“So they’ve got to find those extra cups to fill; they’ve got an awful lot of coffee in Brazil.”

Apparently this was only some sort of optical illusion based on those cups being the size of the thimbles that they serve at concession stands (for about $2 U.S.) and offer free in venue press rooms.

Sure, conservation is one of the themes of these Games but ... seriously?

In the Main Press Center, where they have inexplicably denied us the efficiency of a McDonald’s for three food (or coffee) lines that take at least 30 minutes to negotiate, there is a mocking empty room on the fifth floor called “Coffee Corner.”

On the main level, there is, in fact, a corner for coffee … at which a sign always hangs saying that there will be more in 15 minutes.

The other day a very nice volunteer there said it had been 90 minutes but she would find me wherever I was in the vast work room when it came.

Somehow, she remembered and did. Made my day.

When I ran into her later and thanked her again, she sheepishly said that there had been an electrical malfunction in the catering area and she was sorry to report that there would be no coffee the rest of the day or the next day in the MPC.

Hit it, Frank:

“The politician’s daughter

Was accused of drinkin’ water

And was fined a great big fifty dollar bill

They’ve got an awful lot of coffee in Brazil

“You date a girl and find out later

She smells just like a percolator

Her perfume was made right on the grill

Why, they could percolate the ocean in Brazil.”

Or not.

All I know is when I get home I’m going to make like Robin Williams in that scene in “Moscow On The Hudson” and go somewhere and just surround myself with coffee.

Vahe Gregorian: 816-234-4868, @vgregorian

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